I’m this close — pinches fingers — to buying a new iPad, and that’s because the iPhone 14 Pro’s display is too small for some of the things I do. I’m eyeing the iPad mini 6 right now, though I might hold out for the iPad mini 7 that should hit stores this spring alongside the larger iPad Air 6 and OLED iPad Pro. I could also go for an iPad Air 5 or the now-old 5th-gen 11-inch iPad Pro, considering all the iPad deals that are out there right now.
But I’m certain at this point that I will absolutely not buy the OLED iPad Pro, and it has nothing to do with the rumored sky-high price. Well, not entirely.
Reports say the 11-inch iPad Pro might start at $1,500. The 13-inch version could cost $1,800 to $2,000. You can get a brand new MacBook for less than that, including one of the M3 MacBook Pro that Apple launched recently. The current M3 MacBook Pro sales start at just $1,399.
That’s really the big problem with the iPad Pro. As it stands, iPadOS can’t replace the Mac as my main computer. I’d love it if it were possible, but it’s not going to happen. Not as long as the iPad runs iPadOS 17.
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The reason I found myself wanting an iPad more and more recently concerns computing experiences that require a bigger screen. I’ve even considered getting an iPhone Plus or Pro Max in the future, just for the larger display.
It’s mostly entertainment-related. Browsing the web, reading, and watching video. That’s where a bigger screen might come in handy. I also want to use the Mac’s Sidecar Continuity feature that turns the tablet into a secondary display.
Any iPad would serve those purposes. The mini has the advantage of being lighter and easier to carry around than the others.
I can’t see myself using an iPad for work, though I do fantasize about it. Despite running on the same high-end chips as the Macs, the current and future iPad Air and Pro models can’t do what the Mac does. Multitasking is my main concern, and please don’t bring up Stage Manager. If my life depended on using Stage Manager on either Mac or iPad to multitask, I’d probably die.
iPadOS 16 Stage Manager multitasking user interface. Image source: Apple Inc.
I also dream of iPadOS behaving more like macOS rather than iOS when it comes to the overall experience. In earnest, I dream about macOS running on iPads or 2-in-1 tablet/laptop contraptions that Apple will probably not manufacture anytime soon.
That’s why I won’t care about the OLED iPad Pro when it comes out this spring. It’ll run iPadOS 17 out of the box, which is not good enough. Sure, the OLED panel experience should be amazing. And the 2024 iPad Pros should be even lighter and thinner, another reason to buy them.
But I can’t justify spending north of $1,500 on a device I’d use for entertainment purposes. Cut the price by about $500, and I might change my mind.
This might seem surprising, coming from someone ready to spend $3,499 on the Vision Pro. However, I see myself using the Vision Pro for productivity. The spatial computer might run an operating system similar to iPadOS. Yet, it’ll bring a new, faster way of interacting with computers and better multitasking. It’ll also work with the Mac via Continuity.
As long as I can wear the headset for several hours without getting tired, I can see a future where part of my work is done using the spatial computer. Of course, I will have a couple of weeks to test the Vision Pro before deciding whether to keep it or return it.
Back to the iPad Pro, I do hope the iPadOS 18, combined with the M3 processor, will bring meaningful changes to the iPad Pro. Also, let’s remember that iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 should come with big Apple GPT features. That’s what all the leaks say. Once these updates roll out, I might change my mind about the OLED iPad Pro.
The OLED iPad Pro will reportedly be expensive, but that’s not the true reason that I’m going to skip it. Bottom line: Apple’s iPad tablets still can’t replace the Mac.